To develop the most realistic football game possible, EA Sports teamed up with Minnesota Vikings running back Ryan Moats. The ball carrier served up firsthand NFL knowledge during a month-long internship at EA Sports' headquarters, during which he worked alongside EA's designers to create a specific team intro sequence for the 2011 edition of the game.
Having studied graphic design and animation at Louisiana Tech, Moats contributed this expertise, along with advice based on many years of playing the Madden franchise, which he admits helped him learn coverages, schemes and routes. "I used to play with my cousins all day long," he says. "I played as the Detroit Lions, because of Barry Sanders, or with Emmitt Smith and the Cowboys."
Armed with his love of football and knowledge of graphics, Moats offered his services to EA during his NFL rookie season in '05. He recalls, "I called EA and asked if I could come down for an internship. They thought I just wanted to come down for a tour."
The internship finally materialized last off-season, when the opportunity to create the Houston Texans' authentic entrance for Madden 11 arose. Moats, who played for the Texans in '08 and '09, was the right man for the job.
"I really wanted the entrance to look authentic," he says. "I was corresponding with designers, sending my model to them, and they would revise it. I [can] count eight or nine times I had to completely start over with certain aspects."
Moats tested new features of Madden 11 as an entertaining break. Locomotion—the new dual stick control layout that provides natural planting and cutting ability—became his instant favorite.
"When the running back [got] the ball in previous Maddens, he didn't have any hip motion or any juke moves," Moats says. "Now the running back can make real juke moves, half steps, head fakes. It's really fluent and easy to control."
Madden 11's new coverages, plays, playbooks and game plans are tailored to specific teams and players. "EA tries to get the game to simulate what we actually go through," Moats says. "They are so critical on themselves and are not satisfied with being mediocre. I can't wait to see what they come up with next."
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